The common view of luxury, consisting of fancy hotels, expensive clothing, and jewelry is an odd one to me. Those things are luxurious in that they are certainly not necessities, but it often doesn't seem like they are doing the person indulging in them much good. On the other hand, with a little bit of creativity one can find luxuries that actually matter. They may not be necessary, but they bring a lot of joy or benefit.
My favorite luxury is having a private gym inside our apartment. We put rubber down in one of the empty bedrooms, I bought a commercial grade weight-stack workout machine, a compact squat rack, a barbell and weights, adjustable dumbbells, a bench, and a big TV and sound system. I spent less than $2000 on the equipment and we sacrificed a room, but now I can work out any time I want in any clothes (no shoes!) while watching a random cooking show on Netflix at high volume.
Having my own gym reduces the hassle of working out by about 50-70%. No changing, commuting, waiting for machines, driving back, etc. I just walk downstairs, do my thing, take a shower, and get back to work. I didn't have my own gym for most of my life and I was just fine, but boy do I appreciate having it now.
I bought an LTE card for my laptop and I pay an extra $25 a month for service to it. Some months I don't use it, most months I rarely do. But when wifi isn't working somewhere or I forgot to get the wifi password from a friend, having that LTE card is the ultimate luxury. I could just tether off my phone of course, but then I have to make sure tethering is on and I have enough batteries and all that. Again, a luxury.
Another small luxury that I appreciate just about every day is having automated curtains. My whole house is automated, but the curtains in particular strike me as a real luxury. Without ever thinking about it, my curtains are always in the position they should be. I never have to open them in the morning or close them at night.
The point of this post isn't to convince you that you should indulge in luxuries, unless you're the type of person who deprives themselves due to momentum or fear. Instead it's to make you think about how you are spending money and time in luxurious ways and to think about whether those are the best ways in which you can be spending that money.
Don't let luxury be synonymous with superfluous. Instead let it represent things you could live without, but which free up your time or your focus for more pleasurable or productive things.
Photo is the gym!
This is such a niche thing, but you'd be shocked at how many requests I get for information on how I did it. A couple years back I gave a talk about automation, ranging from home to habits to business, and almost all of the follow-up emails I got were about the curtains.
I first automated my curtains because I thought it would be a neat novelty. My apartment in Las Vegas is a very inexpensive one which you'd never expect would have anything fancy inside, so I thought it would be fun to have automated curtains. After using them for a few years, though, they've proven to have far more utility than novelty.
There are three primary advantages to having automated curtains.
The first advantage is that you can have sunlight when you wake up in the morning. I like sleeping in and don't naturally jump up out of bed in the morning. But when I can hit one button and sunlight starts streaming into my bedroom, I find it really easy to spring out of bed. I also use Tasker on Android to automate this so that if an alarm goes off, my curtains open. I almost never use an alarm, but when I do it tends to be for an early flight, so it helps to get out of bed quickly.
One of the greatest joys in the world is the iron gym.
What's an iron gym? It's hard to describe. It's easier to say what it's not.
An iron gym isn't a fancy fitness club. An iron gym doesn't offer jazzercise. An iron gym doesn't have wooden panelling and beautiful adornment. An iron gym doesn't have awesome, clean bathrooms. An iron gym's locker room is spartan, at best. An iron gym has mostly free weights, with very few machines. An iron gym isn't a place to mingle with the opposite sex. An iron gym doesn't offer yoga or other classes. An iron gym has no amenities, niceties, or anything like. An iron gym is usually obscure, with nothing special in real estate. It's often in a basement. An iron gym doesn't have a salesman to give you a tour of the place and show you around, doesn't ask for a one year commitment to join, or anything like that. An iron gym doesn't have fancy membership cards, swipe-in/swipe-out, or anything like that. You just show up and nobody hassles you.
So what's an iron gym? It's a spartan, bare bones place with free weights and a few very basic machines. It's often dirty and disorganized. There's no classes offered there. There's almost never women in an iron gym, if you go every day for an hour you'll maybe see a woman once a week. Maybe.
And I fucking love it. I love being at an iron gym. It's just a place to push iron. There's no posturing, no showing off, nothing like that. If you need a spot, someone will give you a spot. Everybody's cool. People don't talk too much, don't socialize too much. Nobody's doing business or trying to get a date or trying to move up the social hierarchy. There's just one thing there. Iron. And you lift and it's good.